|Publication number||US7380575 B2|
|Application number||US 11/312,157|
|Publication date||Jun 3, 2008|
|Filing date||Dec 20, 2005|
|Priority date||Dec 20, 2005|
|Also published as||US20070137727, WO2007075770A2, WO2007075770A3|
|Publication number||11312157, 312157, US 7380575 B2, US 7380575B2, US-B2-7380575, US7380575 B2, US7380575B2|
|Inventors||Douglas K. Stricklin|
|Original Assignee||Scholle Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (7), Referenced by (19), Classifications (9), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The invention relates in general to filler devices, and more particularly to a filler device for filling flexible bags wherein the filler device further includes a system for minimizing/evacuating air that would otherwise become trapped within the filled container.
2. Background Art
One inevitable consequence of filling flexible bags is that a residual quantity of air remains trapped in the flexible container when filled. This can be detrimental as the air that remains can be contaminated, or, it may have an undesirable effect on the flowable material contained within the flexible bag.
One method by which to preclude this air from entering or remaining the flexible bag after filling is to utilize a pad positioned below the table which can be raised selectively so as to force the underside of the flexible bag against the bottom of the spout before and after filling. While this solution minimizes the quantity of air that enters into the flexible bag, such mechanisms are relatively complicated. Moreover, these devices must be positioned below the table, thereby limiting the use of different table structures (such as bomb-bay tables and the like).
Another solution comprises the tilting of the table upon which the flexible bag is positioned. Such a solution likewise limits the entry of air into the flexible bag after filling. However, this solution may be disruptive to the flexible container. Moreover, the use of a tilting table is relatively complicated and is likewise difficult to implement in a number of filler device applications.
Thus, it is an object of the present invention to minimize air that inadvertently enters a flexible bag during filling thereof.
It is another object of the present invention to provide for a filler device which effectively limits the introduction of air during the filling of a flexible bag.
It is another object of the present invention to provide for a filler device that effectively limits the introduction of air during the filling of a flexible bag while facilitating the use of a number of differently configured tables.
These objects as well as other objects of the present invention will become apparent in light of the present specification, claims, and drawings.
The invention comprises a filler device for filling flexible bags. The invention includes a table, a container gripper assembly, a fill valve and a evacuation facilitating assembly. The table has a top surface configured for receipt of a flexible bag. The container gripper assembly is configured for receipt of a spout of a flexible bag positioned on the table. The fill valve is positionable in fluid communication with the flexible bag. The evacuation facilitating assembly comprises a frame, a leg member and displacing means. The frame is spaced apart from the table. The leg member is associated with the frame. The displacing means displaces the leg member relative to the frame to, in turn, direct the leg member between a first position wherein the leg member is spaced apart from the table to a second position wherein the flexible bag is sandwiched between the leg member and the table.
In a preferred embodiment, the leg member comprises a stem and a plate. The stem has a first end and a second end. The first end is associated with the frame. The plate is associated with the second end of the stem.
In one such preferred embodiment, the plate includes an inner surface and an outer surface and an outer periphery and wherein the outer surface is outwardly convex. In one such embodiment, the outer periphery comprises a substantially circular geometric configuration.
In a preferred embodiment, the displacing means comprises an air cylinder. In other embodiments, the displacing means comprises one of the group consisting of: air cylinder, mechanically coupled assembly and servo motors.
In another preferred embodiment, the filler device further comprises means for adjusting the movement of the leg member relative to the frame.
In another preferred embodiment, the adjusting means comprises a threadform and a fastener. The threadform is positioned on the second end of the stem of the leg member. The fastener has a mating threadform coupled to the plate. Rotative movement of the fastener translates the fastener, and in turn, the plate along the threadform of the stem.
In a preferred embodiment, the frame member is positioned above the upper surface of the table.
In another preferred embodiment, the table comprises a bomb-bay table.
In another preferred embodiment, the leg member is spaced apart from the container gripper assembly and the fill valve.
In another aspect of the invention, the invention comprises a method of displacing air within a flexible bag upon filling thereof with a flowable material. The method comprises the steps of: positioning a flexible bag on a table; filling the container with a flowable material; forcing a leg member toward the table and into the flexible bag so as to reduce the volume of the flexible bag thereby removing air remaining in the filled flexible bag.
In one preferred embodiment, the method further comprises the step of adjusting the travel of the leg member to control the reduction of the volume of the flexible bag.
In another preferred embodiment, the leg member is positioned above the table.
In yet another preferred embodiment, the method further comprises the steps of: grasping the spout; and removing a cap from the spout prior to the step of filling.
In another aspect of the invention, the invention comprises a filler device for filling flexible bags comprising a table, a container gripper assembly, a cap a fill valve and a evacuation facilitating assembly. The table has a top surface configured for receipt of a flexible bag. The container gripper assembly is configured for receipt of a pout of a flexible bag positioned on the table. The cap handling assembly is positioned proximate the container gripper assembly. The fill valve is positionable in fluid communication with the flexible bag. The evacuation facilitating assembly comprises a frame, a leg member and displacing means. The frame is positioned above the table. The leg member is movably coupled to the frame. The displacing means displaces the leg member relative to the frame to, in turn, direct the leg member between a first position wherein the leg member is spaced apart from the table to a second position wherein the flexible bag is sandwiched between the leg member and the table.
In a preferred embodiment, the filler device further comprises means for adjusting the displacing means.
In yet another aspect of the invention, the invention comprises evacuation facilitating assembly for use in association with a filler device. The assembly comprises a frame, a leg member and displacing means. The frame is positioned above a table of a filler device. The leg member is movably coupled to the frame. The displacing means displace the leg member relative to the frame to, in turn, the direct the leg member between a first position wherein the leg member is spaced apart from a table to a second position wherein the flexible bag is sandwiched between the leg member and a table.
In a preferred embodiment, the assembly further comprises means for adjusting the displacing means.
In another preferred embodiment, the displacing means comprises an air cylinder.
The invention will now be described with reference to the drawings wherein:
While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and described herein in detail a specific embodiment with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the embodiment illustrated.
It will be understood that like or analogous elements and/or components, referred to herein, may be identified throughout the drawings by like reference characters. In addition, it will be understood that the drawings are merely schematic representations of the invention, and some of the components may have been distorted from actual scale for purposes of pictorial clarity.
Referring now to the drawings and in particular to
With reference to
Referring again to
Table 12 is shown in
Container gripper assembly 14 is shown in
Cap handling assembly 36 includes a cap gripping arms 38 and manipulating means 39. The cap handling assembly is configured to remove a cap prior to filling and for replacing the cap after filling. In certain embodiments, the uncapping may be done by a first sub-assembly, and the recapping may be done by a second sub-assembly. Typically, in such a configuration, a first cap is removed and discarded. The container is recapped with a second, new cap. One such cap gripper assembly is shown in the above identified U.S. Pat. No. 6,665,109.
Fill valve 16 is shown in
Evacuation facilitating assembly 18 is shown generally in
Leg member 52 is shown in
Displacing means 54 comprises an air cylinder 70 which moves stem 60 from a first position, wherein second end 68 of stem 60 is spaced apart from table 12 to a second position wherein second end 68 of stem 60 is directed towards table 12. In the embodiment shown, the air cylinder is activated by compressed air which is supplied to the filler device. In other embodiments, the displacing means may comprise a solenoid which is configured to move the stem between the desired positions. In still other embodiments, the displacing means may comprise a servo-motor or other electrically controlled motor. In yet another embodiment, the displacing means may comprise a cam actuated assembly, or other mechanically configured system, which moves the stem in the desired manner. Certainly, the invention is not limited to air cylinders and the like.
In another embodiment, adjusting means 56 may comprise a plate (not shown) having slot-like opening therethrough. The displacing means 54 may include mounting screws which can be positioned along the slot-like opening so as to facilitate movement of the displacing means relative to the frame. In turn, the first position and the second position can be varied relative to the table.
Adjusting means 56 comprises the adjustment of plate 62 relative to distal end 68 of stem 60. For example, stem 60 may include a threaded inner bore proximate distal end 68; plate 62 may include frame 67 carrying threaded fastener 69 which mates with the threads of the inner bore of the distal end of stem 60. In turn, rotation of threaded fastener 69 (and the plate therewith) translates the fastener along the distal end of the stem. In turn, the effective length of the stem can be varied, and, in turn, the relative movement of the plate relative to the table. Of course, other adjusting means are contemplated for use.
The operation will be discussed with reference to
To fill the container the fill valve 16 is introduced to the flexible bag. In particular, the fill valve body lowered to spout 202 to place fill valve outlet 42 in communication with the outward outlet of the spout (
Typically, the flowable material can be metered quite precisely so as to fill the flexible bag to a desired volume or a desired weight. Once properly filled, a quantity of air is introduced into, or an otherwise is present, in the flexible bag. To remove this air from the flexible bag, the evacuation facilitating assembly 18 is employed.
Specifically, and with reference to
Next, the cap handling assembly is again activated (
Advantageously, as the evacuation facilitating assembly is spaced apart from the table, and generally positioned above the table, a number of different tables can be utilized in conjunction with the evacuation facilitating assembly, including tables that may rotate in a downward direction. Moreover, the evacuation facilitating assembly can be fine tuned for differently sized containers quite easily, thereby facilitating the use of the same evacuation facilitating assembly with a range of differently sized flexible bags which can be filled on a single filler device.
The foregoing description merely explains and illustrates the invention and the invention is not limited thereto except in so far as the appended claims are so limited, as those skilled in the art who have the disclosure before them will be able to make modifications without departing from the scope of the invention.
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|U.S. Classification||141/166, 141/114, 141/314, 53/469, 141/73, 141/10|
|Dec 20, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SCHOLLE CORPORATION, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:STRICKLIN, DOUGLAS;REEL/FRAME:017392/0959
Effective date: 20051219
|Jan 16, 2012||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Jun 3, 2012||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Jul 24, 2012||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20120603
|Jun 27, 2013||AS||Assignment|
Effective date: 20130627
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:SCHOLLE CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:030706/0470
Owner name: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., WASHINGTON